The latest offering from Samsung is simply stunning
All hail the Android King of 2016: everything that made the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge such a beautiful handset to behold, has simply been taken to new levels of greatness with the Galaxy S7 Edge.
Last year's S6 Edge was just about the most beautiful handset Samsung had ever crafted, in our opinion. However, just one year later, and we're finding it somewhat jarring to go back to that model from its successor.
The 2016 iteration is curvier, smoother and ultimately edgier. If you're familiar with the S6 Edge you may be surprised by just how different it feels.
First things first; the S7 Edge is unfortunately just as fragile. The glass back remains, and our Gold sample still picks up fingerprints and grease after heavy usage.
Size-wise it packs a lot into its 150.9x72.6x7.7mm, 157g shell. It's slightly larger than the S7's 142.4x69.6x7.9mm and 152g (as expected), but it manages to shave a few millimetres off the thickness.
For comparison, last year's Galaxy S6 Edge is 142.1x70.1x7mm and 132g, while the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is 154.4x75.8x6.9mm and 153g.
Samsung claims that the Galaxy S7 Edge meets IP68 rating for water resistance to a depth of 1.5m, and it can survive submersion for up to 30 minutes. It's a useful safety feature, but more for your peace of mind rather than to aid would-be divers.
The microSD is a welcome addition, although you're going to take a performance hit if you install apps onto anything but the fastest flash memory cards. You can't default to expandable storage either, as Samsung instead prefers you to individually move apps (should you so wish) through a somewhat laboured process.
At the time of writing, the Galaxy S7 Edge is only available in a version with 32GB internal storage, which isn't ideal as you're left with a less-than-generous 25GB to play with. The good news is you can expand this up to 200GB. But this is Samsung; there are bound to be 64GB/128GB models on the horizon. It's not a case of if, more when.
Meanwhile, for those users hoping that Samsung would replace the single mono speaker found on the S6 with dual-facing front speakers, be prepared for disappointment. It's still capable of cranking out a decent volume but no amount of fancy effects are going to mask the mono output.
We'd recommend strapping on a pair of your favourite headphones where the UHQ Upscaler, Surround and Tube Amp Pro filters will have a more noticeable effect.
Samsung has also given the USB-C port a wide berth, and chosen to stick with the tried-and-tested micro USB for charging/data transfer purposes.
There's been some confusion regarding the CPU found in Samsung's 2016 Galaxy lineup. With the US receiving handsets running a Snapdragon chip, and the rest of the world getting Samsung's own Exynos 8890 CPU. If you buy your S7 in the UK or Europe, you will get this variant.
The Exynos consists of eight-cores: four running at 2.6GHz and the other four at 1.59GHz, arranged in ARM's big.LITTLE architecture where the slower cores are used for less demanding tasks and the faster cores kick in when maximum performance is called for. These are paired with a Mali T880 GPU and backed with 4GB of RAM.
Inside there's a water-cooling element and even with multiple apps open, Netflix streaming, downloading Spotify playlists, and a good few hours of intensive gaming, we detected only a minor temperature increase. Happily, and very much like Iron Man's Hulkbuster Armor, our activities hardly put a dent in the Galaxy Edge S7's battery department.
Putting the S7 Edge through our standard benchmarking software it returned the following scores:
PCMark work performance score 4670
The most interesting however were gleaned from AnTuTu, where Samsung's Exynos 8890 chip wiped the floor with the competition.
Next: Camera and display